Bronze Avery Named Winner of Billboard NXT Talent Competition

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Billboard and Samsung Galaxy proudly announce Bronze Avery as the winner of the Billboard NXT Talent Competition, a search for the next unsigned superstar. The first-of-its-kind competition showcased today’s brightest talent as they participated in several weeks of challenges that tested their artistry, creativity, and live performance skills, all of which were captured on the new Galaxy Z Flip3 5G – Samsung’s newest foldable smartphone. The competition culminated in a live, Grand Finale performance that took place yesterday at the Avalon Hollywood.

 

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Under the guidance of chart-topping artists and celebrity mentors Todrick Hall, Anitta and Charli XCX, in addition to 24KGoldn who attended the Grand Finale as a surprise mentor in place of Charli XCX, competition finalists Bronze Avery, Amir Brandon and Sophie Marks took the stage to perform original and cover songs for a live audience. Fans can livestream the performances on Billboard’s Facebook page for the next 48 hours.

After careful deliberation by Billboard’s music experts, Avery’s incredible performance won the judges over, earning him a lifechanging grand prize—a Billboard cover, a music video, studio time to record a first single and tickets to the Billboard Music Awards! Avery, a 27-year-old singer-songwriter and producer who has racked up nearly half a million likes on TikTok, not only remixes popular tracks from current pop divas, but also writes and records show-stopping original tracks, as well as produces music videos.

 

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The Tartan says Avery’s confidence in his identity as a gay black man and as a pop musician stands unwavering today. Over the years, he’s learned that “your identity doesn’t have to get in the way… and can actually be celebrated at the same time.”

“I was kind of hiding that part of myself to appeal to mainstream,” he says of the beginning of his music career. Bronze Avery started that career in 2015 with his EP American Dream, under his birth name Gabriel Brown. He later switched to the stage name Bronze Avery to distinguish himself from other artists with the same name.

However, the change in name was not the only difference in his music as Gabriel Brown and as Bronze Avery. The musician began incorporating his queer identity into his art. This shift helped him realize that hiding a key component of his identity prevented him from forming a connection with listeners. Embracing his queer identity allowed him to find an authentic fanbase and distinguish himself from the status quo.

“Being black has been kind of interesting,” he reflects. “I love being black, but it seems like the industry loves you being black, but only in the way that they want to see you be black.” His heart lies in pop music, citing artists like the Pussycat Dolls and Charli XCX as some of his biggest musical inspirations. However, he has felt the pressure to restrict his options as a musician, especially by what kinds of music he was expected to create as a black musician. In an interview with Billboard, he confessed his frustration with automatically being typecast as an R&B musician when he tells people that he is a singer. But, with a wide grin, he asserts, “We gonna change that.”

Bronze Avery learned to define his own music. “My music is generally dreamy… sexy and sassy,” he describes it. He uses it as a medium to seamlessly champion his black and queer identity without making it the focus. In his music video for one of his most listened-to songs, “Want 2,” he portrays the story of a dancer lusting over his instructor. The video’s cast is made up of queer men of various body sizes, a powerful, yet subtle, attribute. He normalizes interracial queer romance throughout this video, doing so in a way relatable to people of many backgrounds. Ultimately, this song and video summarizes one of his hopes for his art: normalizing his truth.

The Billboard NXT competition kicked off in September by inviting artists across the country to create a :60 cover of the new song “Out Out” by Joel Corry & Jax Jones featuring Charli XCX and Saweetie, and posting to TikTok with the hashtag #BillboardNXT. Billboard then ranked contestants’ performances after each challenge on a custom chart before determining the Grand Finale’s three finalists and matching them with a celebrity mentor.

“We’re thrilled to have been able to partner with Samsung to launch a competition that showcases the incredible skills of undiscovered artists like Bronze Avery,” said Julian Holguin, President of Billboard. “Together, we’ve connected a new generation of stars with global audiences, and also given fans the ability to discover music through platforms that truly reflect the future of music.”

“We are honored that our technology could play a part in such an inspiring competition with Billboard,” said Janet Lee, Vice President of Mobile Marketing at Samsung Electronics America. “We were so impressed by all the participants and how they brought to life our vision of empowering everyone to use technology to create and share their passions — and ultimately, to achieve their dreams.”

Learn more about Billboard NXT and watch the Grand Finale performances, available to livestream for the next 48 hours, on Billboard’s Facebook page.

 

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About Billboard  Billboard is a global music media brand, with a renowned authority among artists, fans and the industry. Billboard powers the ultimate global music destination and magazine, featuring unrivaled reporting on music news, issues and trends, the industry’s definitive charts, encompassing the most complete and well-respected database of charts across all music genres. Billboard also produces elite conferences and events which regularly convene the industry and consumers around important conversations.